The American Heart Association notes that nearly 78 million adults and 13 million children in the U.S. deal with the health and emotional effects of obesity every day, and that’s without taking into account the increased stress levels and other unhealthy side effects of busy modern life that can contribute to obesity.
Recent medical evidence shows that drinking tea can help maintain a healthy weight by curbing the appetite so that we eat less, which decreases energy, and burns more calories and fat, which increases energy. Natural compounds like l-theanine and catechins have been shown to reduce stress levels and promote weight loss. Catechin- and caffeine-rich teas (CCRTs), such as green, oolong, and white tea, have also been shown to aid in energy expenditure; increase fat oxidation, which is a prominent marker in fat loss; and support improvements in body weight, BMI, body fat, and waist-to-hip ratios.
The caffeine in tea can play a supportive role in curbing appetite and providing a sense of feeling full, too. What’s more, caffeine is a brain stimulant that can improve energy levels and stave off feelings of hunger or cravings. When coupled with theanine, it also helps reduce stress and keep us away from the carbs.
Green tea is another weight-management hero. Everything from cancer-fighting antioxidant support to an aid in diabetes prevention can be found in green tea—including natural, healthy weight loss. Current research suggests that the catechins in green tea can increase fat oxidation; help reduce the risk of diabetes; and reduce the inches around your waist. Specifically, the catechin epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), most commonly found in white and green teas, has been shown to increase metabolism and slow the growth of new fat cells, especially when consumed immediately before moderate levels of exercise.
Studies have also shown that oolong tea can prevent glucose or fat absorption in the intestines and may provide some inhibition to pancreatic lipase. Typically, lipase, an enzyme, helps break down fat during digestion to aid in its absorption by the body; but if the enzyme is inhibited, fat absorption decreases and is instead excreted. Oolong also increases energy and promotes the breakdown of fat.
Like other types of tea, black tea possesses polyphenols and caffeine, which are both supportive of natural weight management. In addition, black tea has been shown to keep cholesterol levels low. And finally, teas of all types are supportive of thermogenesis—the process of heat production in the body—which can enhance energy levels and fat metabolism by supporting more efficient calorie burning and lower fat stores.
NOTE: When choosing herbal drinks, please keep in mind that some herbs shouldn’t be used by people with certain medical conditions and that others can interact negatively with certain medications. Check with a physician before using any new herb or drink.